“Mr. Faber,” said the minister, now turning toward him, and looking him full in the face, “if you had a friend whom you loved with all your heart, would you be under obligation to a man who counted your friendship a folly?”
“The cases are not parallel. Say the man merely did not believe your friend was alive, and there could be no insult to either.”
“If the denial of his being in life, opened the door to the greatest wrongs that could be done him—and if that denial seemed to me to have its source in some element of moral antagonism to him—could I accept—I put it to yourself, Mr. Faber—could I accept assistance from that man? Do not take it ill. You prize honesty; so do I: ten times rather would I cease to live than accept life at the hand of an enemy to my Lord and Master.”
“I am very sorry, Mr. Drake,” said the doctor; “but from your point of view I suppose you are right. Good morning.”
He turned Ruber from the minister’s door, went off quickly, and entered his own stable-yard just as the rector’s carriage appeared at the further end of the street.
THE MANOR HOUSE.
Mr. Bevis drove up to the inn, threw the reins to his coachman, got down, and helped his wife out of the carriage. Then they parted, she to take her gift of flowers and butter to her poor relation, he to call upon Mrs. Ramshorn.
That lady, being, as every body knew, the widow of a dean, considered herself the chief ecclesiastical authority in Glaston. Her acknowledged friends would, if pressed, have found themselves compelled to admit that her theology was both scanty and confused, that her influence was not of the most elevating nature, and that those who doubted her personal piety might have something to say in excuse of their uncharitableness; but she spoke in the might of the matrimonial nimbus around her head, and her claims were undisputed in Glaston. There was a propriety, springing from quite another source, however, in the rector’s turning his footsteps first toward the Manor House, where she resided. For his curate, whom his business in Glaston that Saturday concerned, had, some nine or ten months before, married Mrs. Ramshorn’s niece, Helen Lingard by name, who for many years had lived with her aunt, adding, if not to the comforts of the housekeeping, for Mrs. Ramshorn was plentifully enough provided for the remnant of her abode in this world, yet considerably to the style of her menage. Therefore, when all of a sudden, as it seemed, the girl calmly insisted on marrying the curate, a man obnoxious to every fiber of her aunt’s ecclesiastical nature, and transferring to him, with a most unrighteous scorn of marriage-settlements, the entire property inherited from her father and brother, the disappointment of Mrs. Ramshorn in her niece was equaled only by her disgust at the object of her choice.